The Tower

In Luke 14:26, as everybody knows, there is a striking doctrine taught about the absolute duty toward God:

If any man cometh unto me and hateth not his own father and mother and wife and children and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

This is a hard saying, who can bear to hear it? For this reason it is heard very seldom. This silence, however, is only an evasion which is of no avail. In the verse immediately following there is a story about a man who desired to build a tower but first sat down to calculate whether he was capable of doing it, lest people might laugh at him afterwards. The close connection of this story with the verse here cited seems precisely to indicate that the words are to be taken in as terrible a sense as possible, to the end that everyone may examine himself as to whether he is able to erect the tower.

The words are terrible, yet I fully believe that one can understand them without implying that he who understands them has courage to do them. But we must be honest, and not interpret this lack of courage as humility, since it is really pride. One can easily perceive that if there is to be any sense in this passage, it must be understood literally. God it is who requires absolute love.

But how hate them? If I regard the problem as a paradox, then I understand it, that is, I understand it in such a way as one can understand a paradox. This is shown by Abraham. The instant he is ready to sacrifice Isaac the ethical expression for what he does is this: he hates Isaac. But if he really hates Isaac, he can be sure that God does not require this, for Cain and Abraham are not identical. Isaac he must love with his whole soul; when God requires Isaac he must love him if possible even more dearly, and only on this condition can he sacrifice him; for in fact it is this love for Isaac which, by its paradoxical opposition to his love for God, makes his act a sacrifice.

People commonly refrain from quoting such a text as this in Luke. They are afraid of giving men a free rein, are afraid that the worst will happen as soon as the individual takes it into his head to comport himself as the individual. Moreover, they think that to exist as the individual is the easiest thing of all, and that therefore people have to be compelled to become the universal. I cannot share either this fear or this opinion, and both for the same reason. He who has learned that to exist as the individual is the most terrible thing of all will not be fearful of saying that it is great. He knows that it is terrible to be born outside the universal, to walk without meeting a single traveller. Humanly speaking, he is crazy and cannot make himself intelligible to anyone.

Sören Kierkegaard – Fear and Trembling. Is there such a thing as an absolute duty toward God?

Unknowable God

To deny all the qualities of a being is equivalent to denying the being itself. A being without qualities is one which cannot become an object to the mind, and such a being is virtually non-existent. To the truly religious man, God is not a being without qualities, because to him it is a positive, real being. The theory that God cannot be defined, and consequently cannot be known by man, is therefore the offspring of recent times, a product of modern unbelief.

The proposition that God is unknowable or undefinable, can only be enunciated and become fixed as a dogma, where this object has no longer any interest for the intellect; where the real, the positive, alone has any hold on man, where the real alone has for him the significance of the essential, of the absolute, divine object. On the ground that God is unknowable, man excuses himself to what is yet remaining of his religious conscience for his forgetfulness of God, his absorption in the world: he denies God practically by his conduct — the world has possession of all his thoughts and inclinations — but he does not deny it theoretically, he does not attack its existence; he lets that rest. But this existence does not affect or incommode him.

The denial of determinate, positive predicates concerning the divine nature is nothing else than a denial of religion; it is simply a subtle, disguised atheism. The alleged religious horror of limiting God by positive predicates is only the irreligious wish to know nothing more of God, to banish God from the mind.

Hence the position that there indeed is another, a heavenly life, but that what and how it is must here remain inscrutable, is only an invention of religious scepticism, which, being entirely alien to the religious sentiment, proceeds upon a total misconception of religion.

Ludwig Feuerbach – The Essence of Religion. The Christian heaven

The Anarchist

There is a perfect likeness between Christian and anarchist: their object, their instinct, points only toward destruction. Those holy anarchists made it a matter of “piety” to destroy “the world,”which is to say, the Imperium Romanum, so that in the end not a stone stood upon another — and even Germans and other such louts were able to become its masters. The Christian and the anarchist: both are decadents; both are incapable of any act that is not disintegrating, poisonous, degenerating, blood-sucking; both have an instinct of mortal hatred of everything that stands up, and is great, and has durability, and promises life a future.

These stealthy worms, which under the cover of night, mist and duplicity, crept upon every individual, sucking him dry of all earnest interest in real things, of all instinct for reality — this cowardly, effeminate and sugar-coated gang gradually alienated all “souls,” step by step, from that colossal edifice, turning against it all the meritorious, manly and noble natures that had found in the cause of Rome their own cause, their own serious purpose, their own pride. The sneakishness of hypocrisy, the secrecy of the conventicle, concepts as black as hell, such as the sacrifice of the innocent, the unio mystica in the drinking of blood, above all, the slowly rekindled fire of revenge, of Chandala revenge — all that sort of thing became master of Rome: the same kind of religion which, in a pre-existent form, Epicurus had combated.

One has but to read Lucretius to know what Epicurus made war upon — not paganism, but “Christianity,” which is to say, the corruption of souls by means of the concepts of guilt, punishment and immortality. He combated the subterranean cults, the whole of latent Christianity — to deny immortality was already a form of genuine salvation. Epicurus had triumphed, and every respectable intellect in Rome was Epicurean — when Paul appeared…

Paul, the Chandala hatred of Rome, of “the world,” in the flesh and inspired by genius — the eternal Jew par excellence. What he saw was how, with the aid of the small sectarian Christian movement that stood apart from Judaism, a “world conflagration” might be kindled; how, with the symbol of “God on the cross,” all secret seditions, all the fruits of anarchistic intrigues in the empire, might be amalgamated into one immense power.

The genius of Paul showed itself. His instinct was here so sure that, with reckless violence to the truth, he put the ideas which lent fascination to every sort of Chandala religion into the mouth of the “Saviour” as his own inventions, and not only into the mouth — he made out of him something that even a priest of Mithras could understand. This was his revelation at Damascus: he grasped the fact that he needed the belief in immortality in order to rob “the world” of its value, that the concept of “hell” would master Rome — that the notion of a “beyond” is the death of life.

Friedrich Nietzsche – The Antichrist

Pain and Boredom

The basis of all willing is need, deficiency, and thus pain. Consequently, the nature of brutes and man is subject to pain originally and through its very being. If, on the other hand, it lacks objects of desire, because it is at once deprived of them by a too easy satisfaction, a terrible void and boredom comes over it. Thus its life swings like a pendulum backwards and forwards between pain and boredom. This has also had to express itself very oddly in this way: after man had transferred all pain and torments to hell, there then remained nothing over for heaven but boredom.

The striving after existence is what occupies all living things and maintains them in motion. But when existence is assured, then they know not what to do with it; thus the second thing that sets them in motion is the effort to get free from the burden of existence, to make it cease to be felt, “to kill time,” i.e., to escape from boredom. Accordingly we see that almost all men become a burden to themselves. Boredom makes beings who love each other so little as men do, seek each other eagerly, and thus becomes the source of social intercourse. As want is the constant scourge of the people, so boredom is that of the fashionable world. In middle-class life boredom is represented by the Sunday, and want by the six week-days.

From the first appearance of consciousness, a man finds himself a willing being, and as a rule, his knowledge remains in constant relation to his will. He first seeks to know thoroughly the objects of his desire, and then the means of attaining them. Now he knows what he has to do, and, as a rule, he does not strive after other knowledge. He moves and acts; his consciousness keeps him always working directly and actively towards the aims of his will; his thought is concerned with the choice of motives. Such is life for almost all men; they wish, they know what they wish, and they strive after it, with sufficient success to keep them from despair, and sufficient failure to keep them from boredom and its consequences. They press forward with much earnestness, and indeed with an air of importance; thus children also pursue their play.

Artur Schopenhauer – The World As Will. Second Aspect

Postscript

O Gilgamesh, why dost thou run in all directions? The life that thou seekest, thou will not find. When the gods created mankind, they determined death for mankind, life they kept in their own hands. Thou, O Gilgamesh, fill thy belly, day and night dance and make music. Let thy garments be made clean. Let thy head be washed and be thou bathed in water. Give heed to the little one who takes hold of thy hand. Let a wife rejoice in thy bosom, for this is the mission of man.

Epic of Gilgamesh

Peace

You must understand that point first: what is this world? You make 1. time, 2. space, 3. karma [cause and effect]. In three seconds, when you asked that question, you made this whole world. Physics used to teach that time and space, and cause and effect, are absolutes. But modern physics teaches that time, space, and cause and effect are subjective. So you make this whole world, and you make your time and space.

The Buddha taught this, and we can test it in our everyday life. “Everything is created by mind alone.”

First we need to understand who creates this world. Who? World means: 1. Time, space and 2. 3. karma [cause and effect]. These three things together make up the world. Where is the world? What is the world? Who creates time, space, cause and effect? Nobody understands, but we call it the world. Physicists say that the time, space, cause and effect are absolutes. Now they say they are subject; are your mind. If your idea of time and space is different, then the cause and effect of it will be different.

You have to understand the essence of Buddhism. Buddha said that all things are created by the mind alone. You create your time, your space, its cause and effect. If you do nothing, then there is no time, no space, no cause or effect. Your world is completely finished. My world is finite. But everyone does something, so there is a big mistake, and world peace is not possible.

So please everyone: for one day, do not do anything. Then one day there will be peace in the world. Excellent master said, a great way is not difficult, do not just divisions. Before each facing elections, so we have problems. Why choose?

Human beings do not matter, because no choice. If you make choices, you’re doing something. You create a reason, you create problems. Everyone does. He says things like: I like communism; I like capitalism; I like Buddhism; I like Catholicism, I like this and that. So everyone has a problem and is therefore struggle.

But you complicates your world. I complicates my world. Two, three, many worlds many complications. This world is very big, so it is all the more complicated. But if you see that your world is very simple, and I see that my world is very simple, the whole world is very simple. No problem.

Do you understand the world of the child? Five year old goes to the market and sees another child. First, they look at each other. They do not know each other’s names, or anything about myself do not know. But soon they go over to him and will talk. All children do that. But when they grow up will be: I am. Then you imitating me !, I do not love you. You’re not fine !, Why not? and will soon be fighting. That’s liking and disliking, which appears, it is like an atomic bomb. If everyone could do that to his inner “I like it” mind vanished, the external atomic bomb would not be dangerous. That’s liking-disliking mind is an internal atomic bomb, that it is the most dangerous. If the atomic bomb will dissolve if everyone finds his human nature, then world peace will not be a problem. Do you understand now?